February 24, 2012
QUESTIONS FOR OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY EXECUTIVE ADMINISTRATOR NOMINEE
By: Kristin Sullivan, Principal Analyst
OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY (PA 11-48, §§ 58 ET SEQ.)
n The Office of Governmental Accountability (OGA) consists of nine independent divisions: the Office of State Ethics (OSE), State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC), Freedom of Information Commission (FOIC), Judicial Review Council (JRC), Judicial Selection Commission (JSC), Board of Firearms Permit Examiners (BFPE), Office of the Child Advocate (OCA), Office of the Victim Advocate (OVA), and State Contracting Standards Board (SCSB).
n OGA staff is composed of an executive administrator and any other staff, within available appropriations, he deems necessary to carry out the office's administrative functions.
n OGA provides consolidated personnel, payroll, affirmative action, and administrative and business office functions, including information technology associated with these functions, for its nine divisions.
n The nine-member Government Accountability Commission (GAC) within OGA consists of the (1) chairpersons of the Citizen's Ethics Advisory Board, SEEC, FOIC, JSC, BFPE, and SCSB; (2) JRC executive director; (3) child advocate; and (4) victim advocate.
n The GAC is responsible for (1) recommending OGA executive administrator candidates to the governor and (2) terminating the executive administrator's employment, if necessary.
1. PA 11-48 established OGA to provide consolidated personnel, payroll, affirmative action, administrative, and business office (“back office”) functions for nine independent state agencies, which are now considered OGA divisions. What challenges have you faced, if any, in merging and consolidating these functions?
2. Which aspects of the consolidation have been most successful? Which aspects require more work?
3. Describe your relationship and interaction with the GAC, which is made up of the heads of the consolidated divisions.
4. Prior to the consolidation, some of the divisions expressed concern about losing their independence. Do the divisions retain an appropriate level of independence under PA 11-48? Please explain. In what ways do they remain independent?
5. Explain OGA's budgetary process, including the roles of the executive administrator and the nine divisions
6. Each of the nine divisions has a unique mission. Some, like the watchdog divisions (i.e., OSE, SEEC, and FOIC), have oversight over others. Do the watchdog divisions function and avoid conflict with respect to one another? Please explain.
7. To what extent do professionals in the nine divisions (e.g., attorneys, accountants) work in divisions outside of their own? Has the concept of cross-training been explored and implemented? Please explain.
8. One of the goals of the consolidation was to achieve cost effectiveness in state government by eliminating redundancies. Has the consolidation met this goal? Please explain. While agency budgets were subject to cuts in the past year, have you been able to isolate savings attributable to the creation of OGA? What amount of savings has the state realized as a result of the consolidation?
9. Are there other state agencies for which OGA should provide back office functions?
10. OGA's January 2, 2012 report on the merger's status and recommendations for legislative action, as required by PA 11-48, included individual reports from you and each of the nine divisions. The nine divisions all reported that the General Assembly should not take further legislative action at this time. You disagreed. What are your legislative recommendations? Of these, which do the divisions particularly disagree with and why?
11. The January 2012 report indicates that, generally, the consolidation has been more beneficial to OGA's smaller divisions than to the larger ones. Why? What steps should be taken to make the consolidation equally beneficial to all nine divisions?
12. You relocated administrative staff from OSE, SEEC, and FOIC to OGA. In the January 2012 report, directors from these divisions indicated that losing administrative staff has been challenging because these individuals performed not only administrative, but also substantive functions. How do you respond?
13. OGA's nine divisions are located in six different buildings in or around the Capitol Complex. Does this make it difficult for OGA to carry out its duties? Are there plans to collocate any of the divisions in one facility?
14. What is your vision for OGA? What are your short- and long-term goals for OGA?